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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 76

Obama Invites Manmohan for discussing global economic issues

By M Rama Rao, India Editor, Asian Tribune

New Delhi, 28 June ( The American National Security Advisor James L Jones has conveyed President Obama’s invitation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit Washington later this year for a discussion on the global economic situation and regional security issues.

General Jones met Singh and his Indian counterpart, M K Naryanan here on Friday. The Obama- Singh meeting could take place in the second half of September. The Indian Prime Minister will be in Pittsburg for the next G-20 summit and he may use the occasion for a bilateral visit to Washington. President Obama and Indian Prime Minister had met in London early this year during a G-20 meeting.

This is General Jones' first visit to India. It has taken place at the invitation of Narayanan. Jones, who flew in from Islamabad after meeting Pakistani top brass, also met India’s defence minister, A K Antony, Army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor, Defence Secretary Vijay Singh and Director General Acquisitions Shashikant Sharma.

The discussions covered Afghanistan, Pakistan, counter-terrorism operations and Indo-US defence cooperation. The American official is understood to have shared his assessment of the on-going Pak offensive against the Taliban.

Officials said General Jones conveyed President Obama's commitment to expanding bilateral relations and the importance attached by the US Administration in working with India at the regional and global level. M.K. Narayanan told him that Indian government would like to build a wide-ranging and mutually beneficial relationship with the United States, ‘based on the successes of the past, our shared values and converging interests’.

Jones On Kasmir

It is not clear whether Kashmir figured in the Jones talks with his Indian interlocutors. He had told a Pak TV just before leaving Islamabad that ‘US would help India and Pakistan resolve the Kashmir issue’. Though these remarks appear to contradict President Obama’s comment to Dawn TV last week that the US was against involvement in the Kashmir issue, a close examination reveals that he did not go against the basic spirit of Obama speak.

In fact, General Jones while saying ‘To the extent that we can be helpful, we will be helpful with both our friends India and Pakistan’, he slipped the caveat that India and Pakistan alone can resolve the issues they confront. ‘We will do everything we can to help Pakistan and India confront the issues that they alone can resolve. To the extent that we can be helpful, we will be helpful with both our friends India and Pakistan. We have to make sure that we understand the severerity of the threats of extremism and of the possibility of another Mumbai-style attack. That cannot be allowed to happen’, he told the Pakistan TV channel.

Whether or not Kashmir figured in the Jones talks in Delhi, there is every reason for the Manmohan Singh government to be pleased with the remarks of another Obama official.

Blake Brings Smile

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake told a Congressional hearing that Pak needed to move troops from its border with India to fight terrorism on its western border with Afghanistan.

‘Some (Pakistani) troops already have been deployed away from the Pakistan-India border, but I think more needs to be done in that respect. But we are encouraged by the progress that has been made so far’, Robert Blake said replying to a question.

He told Congressman Gary Ackerman, ‘We are very encouraged by the progress that has been made in Swat Valley but much more needs to be done (by Pakistan). I think they do have the capabilities to undertake that. An important part of that will be, as Ambassador Holbrooke (the Special US Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan) said, to reorient the Pakistani military from its focus on India towards a focus on dealing with the extremist threats that it faces’.

-Asian Tribune -

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